February 27, 2006

The Plight of the Stolen Coat

Monday night and we are feelin' fine. Jack made it through his last weeks chemo feeling great. He is very excited for his 2 week break.
I picked the kids up from school today and asked them about their days. Jack told me that his was pretty bad. I asked him why and he said, "Well some kids stole my coat on the playground." So I asked him if he knew who it was who took his coat, and what were their names. He calls out two girls names and tells me whose class they are in. Now at this time he currently has his jacket so I know that somehow it was recovered. With Jack there is always humor in his most tragic stories, so I continue to ask a question here and there to try and fill in this picture. He tells me that these girls stole his coat from him and that he had to go after them to get it back. By the time he had caught up to the suspects he had recruited two other boys from his class as back up. Apparently there was a bit of a struggle for the coat but he got it back. I told Jack that I think the girls probably took his coat because they wanted him to chase them. He didn't say too much to that. Then I asked him are these the girls who chase you on the playground to which he replied that they were. I asked him what they did with him once they caught him. He said sometimes they drag him around and sometimes they push him into things. So I say, you know you can use your words and tell these girls you don't like what they are doing. You can invite them to play with you but to cool their jets a bit and quit bugging you. To that he replied..., well I really don't like to talk that much at school. I say to Jack, do you like it when these girls chase you and push you around? He says, yes, I think I do. Then I say well good luck with that.
Jack's main concern for tomorrow is whether or not to bring his coat to school.
First grade can be tough on the playground, girls, girls, girls.

February 23, 2006

Laugh Jack Laugh

Hello - Thursday night, ahhhhh! That is the sound of relief as today was Jack's last chemo for the next 2 weeks. A 2 week break. His ANC counts were at 1100. Still over 1000 which is what is needed for him to fight any sickness that might come his way. I was a little shocked though because when I took him into his pediatrician on Monday so she could check him out his counts were 2950. So a week ago today they were 1900, within the week they varied alot. Today was a good day for Jack, he actually fell asleep during chemo for about 25 minutes - a first for him. I guess he was really tired, he normally fights it when his eyes start wanting to close.
This morning before Jack went to school we were talking about our plan of when I was going to pick him up for chemo and he said, "Mom, I don't want chemo today, I want a poke in my arm not in my port." I reminded him that after today he would have 2 whole weeks off, and he smiled a huge smile and said, "that sounds really good to me." It sounds good to me too.
We will have blood draws each week on our normal Thursday but we always feel blessed when we have some time away from the medicines.
I ate lunch today with Jack in the school lunchroom and one of the cafeteria ladies came over and told me that she thought Jack was looking so good. She had said that a couple of weeks ago she had heard this overly loud laugh and turned around to ask the student to keep it down. She looked down and saw it was Jack and she told me she just smiled and let him laugh as loud as he wanted. She said Jack is normally so quiet and never makes a peep, to just hear him get so tickled and see that he was feeling good that day made her go back and tell the other cafeteria women that she actually heard Jack laugh really loud.
For us at home we have been blessed to not see a huge changes in Jack's personality, but when he lost his hair he really got quiet at school and became almost sheepish I think. Now that his hair is coming back in he is feeling comfortable and more self assured. That makes me so happy. Laugh Jack laugh.
We are looking forward to an awesome break and a fun weekend with the kids. I think we might go see 8 Below at the movies.
Thanks for your prayers and taking the time to keep up with Jack. He continues to shine his light and smile his smile. God Bless you.
Tammy

February 21, 2006

Blogging, Fair Trade, and Jack

Tuesday morning. Jack was sick through the night. Maybe another stomach virus, which would be the second in a week. He has had a bit of a cold over the last 2 weeks so I took him and Sophie to the doctor yesterday after school. Jack will start another antibiotic to keep his cold under control. The good news is that Jack had blood drawn yesterday to see where his immune system is and his ANC counts have gone up since Thursday before his last chemo session to 2950. Over the weekend he was pretty lethargic and I was a bit concerned that his counts had bottomed out again. Just goes to show that what you see on the outside is not always representing what is going on inside. With his counts strong we will just wait it out and I expect his body should heal itself from this virus.
This week is Lectureship at ACU. I am so glad I was able to attend yesterday. I went to two classes, the first at 8:30am, was on blogging. This class was taught by Mike Cope, Kendall Ball, and Travis Stanley. It was a fun class. I knew it would be. I am so not technilogically savvy, so I learned a couple of new things that will be very useful. And I met some ladies whose names I knew from Mike's blog, but not their faces. That was alot of fun.
Mike asked me to tell the class about Jack's blog. I still get teary eyed thinking about all the blessings that have come from this. My family who are overseas know the same information as my family in town. Many people have lifted Jack's name to the Father who wouldn't have even known about Jack if it were not for the blog. And I have grown a love for writing which had never been there before. Thanks Sarah for making this all happen. When Jack was admitted to the hospital in Dallas for his tumor Sarah started this blog immediately as an information highway. What a blessing.
The next class I went to was "Justice in a cup of Joe" it was a class that about Fair Trade. If you are like me I wasn't real sure what Fair Trade was, it is a way of buying goods straight from the person who farms the product or the artisan who creates the good. Most people might be familiar with Fair Trade coffee if they are familiar with Fair Trade at all. Fair Trade coffee allows the growers to be fairly compensated for growing the coffee beans. There are normally 7 middle men in the process from the grower to us the buyer. This process cuts out the middle man and allows the grower to earn $1.26 dollars per pound for their coffee rather than the .20 cents that many make currently. It costs .46 cents per pound to make it so there is a deficit for the grower. Many growers have shut down their farms and because it is the only thing they have ever done they are poverty stricken. As Joyce H. said yesterday, when an American who lives in the USA loses a job it is a tragedy. But when one of these people lose their job it is a crisis as they don't have an education to fall back on or the opportunities that we have. I had shown up yesterday morning with my Starbuck's Venti Non-Fat Sugar-free Vanilla Latte (thanks to Lisa's gift card) and felt a bit conflicted about my non fair trade coffee. Today I have come to the conclusion that I will probably keep meeting my friends at Starbucks for coffee and buying non fair trade, but what I serve in my home, will be Fair Trade. Thanks to Mark Love for serving Fair Trade Coffee throughout some of the events at Lectureship, it was very yummy coffee.
At some point soon I will link and post about my very favorite fair trade ministry, Eternal Threads.
That was my very brief description on what seems like now as my 3 hour experience at Lectureship, as I have a very sweet sick child at home.
We have chemo on Thursday and I will post afterwards.
Blessings.

February 16, 2006

The God of Hope

Jack had chemo today. His counts were 1990, dropped from last week, but still good. He had fun at chemo today alot of the kids were there, and they watched movies together.
Today when I picked Jack up from school one of the teachers, Mrs. Hanner, commented on Jack's t-shirt. He was wearing his grey t-shirt that says "I Have Issues". She asked Jack what kind of issues he had, and he said, "I don't know what kind, I just know I have them."
We are getting ready to batten down the hatches for a cold front that is supposed to hit town sometime soon. It is a sunny 85 degrees here today, and yesterday too. We are ready for the pool to open up. I am guessing that tomorrow will be a different story. ACU's Lectureship starts up this weekend which almost always means a cold front.
Some of the readers of this blog might know Randy Becton. Jack got to sit next to him at chemo today. Randy's cancer has come back for the 3rd time. He is a kind man and made friends with all who were around. Please pray for God to rain down blessings on Randy and Camille Becton. As soon as Randy and Camille left the chemo chairs, I read this scripture which I prayed for them.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13.

The God of hope. What would we do without the God of hope? Without the God of hope where would we get our hope. If we still had hope, what would we hope for? I am blessed by the many personalities that God represents Himself with in scripture. For every hopeless day we have the God of hope ready to bless us through the power of the Holy Spirit. I sometimes sit in the chairs at the chemo office and look around at the people who are hooked up to the chemo. In some eyes you see hope, no doubt about it, in some eyes you see weariness, and yet others, anger, tiredness, loneliness, fear, boredom. I have seen some patients come in for their first time to get chemo, it is like a deer in the headlights. It is all so new and different, a whole new world that they were thrust into. I can remember the uncertainness the first time Jack and I walked in those doors. It is an eery feeling. Then you go through a couple treatments and it feels almost like a second home. The smiles on the nurses. The kindness of the people who welcome you through the front door. It is like another family that you have grown into.

What do I hope for? That is a question that I ask myself on a somewhat frequent basis. I hope that Jack will be healed, I hope that I can see my children's children. I hope that my children remain faithful to Jesus the One and Only. The main thing I hope for is that when God calls me home and on that Day of Judgement when I am called into account for my actions on earth, and the blood of Jesus covers all my sins, I am hopeful that God says to me, people have seen the love I have given to you, you have shared what is in your heart, you have glorified Me, you have been truthful about your struggles, you have fallen, but when you got up you lifted your hand to Me. Welcome Home my child.

February 15, 2006

The Tooth Fairy is Living La Vita Loca

We are having a good week. It is Wednesday and Jack will have chemo tomorrow. He is feeling all better and back to normal from the stomach virus he had last week. Sophie is in the children's act for ACU's Sing Song this weekend. She will have rehearsals each night until then. This is her 2nd year to participate in this and she has really had a great experience both times. She will be dressed up as a little flapper in a fringy pink dress. Very exciting.
This was Jack's and my morning conversation yesterday before school:
Mom - Jack what would you like for breakfast today?
Jack - Nothin'
Mom - That's unusual Jack you always eat breakfast. What about some cereal or toast?
Jack - No I can't have anything because my tooth is so loose it might fall out if I eat and today when I deliver my valentine to Nurse Huff I want to pull it out on the way to her office so she will put it into a baggie for me.
Mom - Is there a reason you want to pull out your tooth on the way to Nurse Huff's office?
Jack - No not really, I just thought that would be a good idea.
Mom - O.K. good luck with your tooth pulling plan.

Yesterday after school I see baggie with Jack's tooth in it.

Mom - Oh Jack, good job you pulled your tooth. Did you pull it on the way to Nurse Huff's office?
Jack - No, I didn't get to go to Nurse Huff's office today, I will have to deliver my valentine tomorrow.
Mom - So when did you pull your tooth?
Jack - I had to pull it in class. My plan didn't work out.
Mom - Bummer.

Jack is a planner. He plans everything, hence the previous conversation. The tooth fairy on the other hand, she lives by the seat of her pants. Some nights she shows up, some nights she forgets, some nights she will take the tooth, others not, sometimes she will drop off the $1 bill a little late. I think that the tooth fairy is conflicted, as is Santa and the Easter Bunny. That is her neurosis, to be truthful all the time except when a holiday charade is involved, why is this conflicting? You have got me, I loved the idea of these creatures when I was little. I just can't seem to pull it off all the way when I am the one telling the "story".

I will let you know how Jack's counts are after chemo tomorrow. Blessings.
Tammy

February 11, 2006

Horses, Horses (and port-a-potty's) A Saturday in Abilene



There are so many reasons to love Abilene. One is that there are roots that come with a town that has been vital since the late 1800's. Once we were a hub for the railroad, today you can still hear more than a couple of trains rail through Abilene during the day. Normally when you are in a hurry you can guarantee being held up waiting for the train to move on through.
The second is that there is a church on every corner. Some people might say that leads to a church hopping mentality, you don't like what one church does, so you move to the next. I see that it has it drawbacks, but I was one of 3 Church of Christ kids in my Arizona high school. My youth group was me. I always felt like the lone c of c kid. So I love the church community we have here.
The third is....where else can you be driving in the middle of the day. Have a bunch of police cars pull up to the light you are waiting at, stop the traffic, and allow about 100 horses and carriages walk through. Was it a parade? Was it a cattle drive? Who knows, but my kids sure enjoyed it. The caboose of the round up was a truck pulling 4 port-a-potty's. I love Abilene.

Sophie and Daddy


Sophie and Rob on their Daddy Daughter Date Night.

February 09, 2006

Jack and the Stomach Virus

Here we are at home on Thursday night. Rob has taken Sophie to the Daddy - Daughter Dance tonight. They are eating some fine food (my guess is chicken nuggets) and dancing the night away, I believe the Chicken Dance is the highlight of the evening. Sophie looked absolutely beautiful, and was very excited to spend a date night with her dad.
A visitor made its way into our house last night. The stomach virus. It hit Jack hard and he is having a slumpy day. Jack had the appointment with Dr. Bowman today and even though he was sick they still wanted him to come in. Lucky that we were the last scheduled appointment today so the place was pretty empty when we got there. When Jack got sick last night I was thanking the Lord that Jack's counts were good yesterday, so I didn't feel like we were in any serious trouble today. When Dr. Bowman saw Jack he said that he definately needed some IV fluids to make sure he stayed healthy. So we headed over to the chemo office again today and Jack got hooked up to the IV. It took a couple of hours but we are home now. When Dr. Bowman told us about the IV Jack was not happy about this development. He was insistant that he not be accessed through his port. He wanted the IV to go into his arm, I was glad when Dr. Bowman said, "Jack we just want to keep you happy. Nurse Sara will do whatever you want." Ah, the exhale, you could see him calm down a bit. Although you couldn't see it in his face as he was laying on a table facing the wall and refusing to turn around and look our way. Which is probably good, because I had a grin on my face the whole time.
Dr. Bowman said if he is not eating and drinking tomorrow that we would need to go to Cook's Hospital for a day or two. I think he should be fine, he has had a bite of food and a couple of sips of sprite so I am sure by the morning he will be on the mend.
I am looking forward to a Jack who is back to his normal bouncy self tomorrow.

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Jack is feeling better this morning. I kept him home from school because he hadn't drank or eaten enough yesterday for me to send him to school today. He is still a bit weak but smilin' and happy to be feeling better! Thanks for your prayers.

February 08, 2006

Jack is doing great!

Jack had his chemo a day early this week. Tomorrow Dr. Bowman is making his monthly visit to Abilene to do his check up on all the oncology kids. I think the powers at be decided that it was too hard to do chemo and oncology check ups for all the kids in one day. Chemo went well, Jack's counts got a bit stronger this week, they are at 3100. So he is doing great.
Last week his Occupational Therapist retested him to see how his motor skills were holding up and told me that he was surprised at how well Jack is doing. Even though the chemo drugs would typically be slowing all that up apparently Jack is holding his own. His motor skills haven't really improved but the big deal is that they haven't degressed. All of Jack's therapies and Thai Kwon Do are making a big difference. He still has significant strides to make in therapy, but most of the difference and improvement probably wont show until after chemotherapy is finished later this year. At this point it is a victory for him to maintain.
I have run into a couple of people over the last weeks here in town that have been praying for Jack through all of his struggles. We are so fortunate to have so many people praying for Jack. The people who I am referring to here are people whom we have not met before which is the cool part. Thanks to all the people who pray for Jack and our family each day or when you think about it, you keep our family moving forward in a very positive direction. I am thankful that God has put Jack on peoples hearts so much. It's that Crazy Jesus Love! Have a blessed week.
Love, Tammy

February 05, 2006

Tagged!

If you remember when you were in Kindergarten and you played tag on the playground then if you transcribe that memory into adulthood and blogs, then you will understand what being tagged means. Apparently there is this online tagging thing going around. I learned of it just 24 hours ago when I noticed that my friend Sarah was tagged. I snickered to myself and thought, hee-hee. Well not even considering that she then would need to tag 4 more people until I read about her exciting life then saw my name on the end of her listing. Thanks Sarah. So this is my addition to this on-line game of tag, who knows if you are reading this and you have a blog and I know about it you could be "it" next!

Four Jobs I’ve Had:
1. Carvel Ice Cream Store - This was my first job.
2. Wherehouse Music and Video - Started as a clerk ended up a store manager.
3. Southern Hills Church of Christ Secretary - This job was a gift from God.
4. Embassy Suites - Tried to go back to work when my twins were little, it lasted 2 weeks, none of us were happy.

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over:
1. Steel Magnolias - Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion. One night a bunch of my best friends and I gathered together to share a meal and just hang out. In the beginning of the evening we figured out that all of our favorite movie was Steel Magnolias the next 90 minutes was spent quoting the entire movie, with Louisiana dialect and all.
2. Braveheart - Fighting for freedom, love and justice....what's not to love.
3. Gladiator - Again fighting for what is right. To right a wrong, loyalty and love.
4. Notting Hill - I think that Hugh Grant can be funny doing nothing, maybe it is his hair, I don't know but this movie made me laugh more times than I can count. There is a bit of language in this, but for some reason when people with an English accent say a cuss word it doesn't sound as ugly to me.


Four Books I Could Read Over and Over:
1. The Bible, the more I read it the more I love it.
2. The Simple Path, Mother Teresa - simplicity on loving others
3. All of the Harry Potter Series - I have read these many times, J.K. Rowlings is a genius in literature. I wonder when she has the last one written if she will retire or will she continue this with more books or another series. For the record, I think that Snape really is a good guy, Dumbledore is not dead, and in #7 I think Harry and Voldemort might do each other in at the same time, although I wish for and hope that Harry does not die and that he and Ginny Weasley get married and live happily ever after next door to Ron and Hermione who get married also. We will see.
4. God's Promises and Answers For Your Life - This book is a little mini sized book that lists scripture in categories. If I need a scripture to help me through a certain situation I can always find it in this book. Everything from finances, marriage, strength, doubt, joy,....this list goes on. My good friend Amy Trabold gave me this book when my mom was diagnosed with cancer (my mom died just 3 short weeks later) but this book has been a constant reference to me.


Four Places I’ve Lived: Unlike Sarah who had not lived in 4 different towns my list could be pretty extensive.
1. Brisbane, Australia - many dear rellies (relatives) check this blog to keep up with Jack, a big Texas hello to each of you. xxxooo
2. Phoenix, Arizona
3. Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Arizona
4. San Angelo, Lubbock, and now Abilene, TX

Four TV Shows I Watch: It seems like the older I get the less television I watch but these are all shows that I have on occassionally.
1. The Today Show
2. As opening ceremonies are almost here, I love to watch the Olympics!
3. Seinfeld Reruns - if I can manage to stay awake that late.
4. Gray's Anatomy, I normally catch this most weeks.


Four Places I’ve Been on Vacation:
1. Jamaica - Honeymoon
2. Arizona to visit family
3. Australia to visit family (although that was when I was still young and not married, my mom and 3 of my siblings lived there at the time. I could afford to buy the plane ticket for one, plane tickets for five make this a dream vacation for us now).
4. Las Vegas - Always alot of fun to see the fancy hotels.

Four Websites I Visit Daily: I could list blogs, but my favorites are on the sidebar, so I will not include those.
1. Yahoo Weather, I love checking weather, weird I know, but in Texas you know the saying goes, if you don't like the weather just take a nap and when you wake up it will be different.
2. I normally check the website for my bank to balance my check book, debit cards make this daily task necessary.
3. Amazon.com - love the used books. I have bought a book for as little as .54 cents. In fact I bought one of my favorite books listed above, The Simple Path, for a mere $2.74, a bargain. I know you might think, you still have to pay shipping, which you do, but it still is alot cheaper than brand new.
4. Wylie ISD, lunch menu's, school calendar, lunch accounts...

Four Favorite Foods:
1. Pizza - jalepeno and pepperoni is my standard favorite.
2. Chocolate
3. Deli Sandwich with mustard hold the mayo, but sometimes I do like Miracle Whip.
4. Sushi, although I can't seem to get into the local supermarket sushi. I really prefer Kyoto's in Scottsdale, but as I don't live there anymore, beggars can't be choosers.


Four Places I’d Like to Be Right Now:
1. Hanging out anywhere with Rob.
2. On the tennis court.
3. At coffee with my friends
4. With family, I love my family, as most families we are spread out, times with them are cherished.

Four Bloggers I’m Tagging:
1. Holly
2. Amber Joy
3. Amanda
4. Matt - Dry Bones Ministry

February 02, 2006

The Waldrops / Chemo and 2 awesome 7 year olds!

Pray for Denise and Abbie Waldrop. Denise has the flu, Abbie started showing signs today of being sick and this afternoon her fever started to spike and she had a seizure. Denise and Jim took her to the ER at Hendrick and they are awaiting some last test results and will probably be home tonight. The docs think Abbie had a febrile seizure. Keep them in your prayers for quick recoveries. God bless you Abbie and Denise, and Jim and Kenny stay well!
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Jack's counts were good today! Huge birthday bash at chemo. Little kids everywhere with big smiles on their faces was the standard visual today! When we walked in the other chemo kids were there with bells on waiting for Jack to arrive and the party to begin. So much fun! I brought a cake and balloons and I think that the whole place enjoyed the kids birthday excitement. One older man who was sitting a chair over from Jack even gave him $5 for his birthday. He said that he has 11 grandchildren and just wanted to give Jack a little something for his birthday. Today was dreamy. Dreamy because my kids turned 7 years old. When you have baby twins you don't ever think they will be old enough that your life will slow down, that day arrived and continues to amaze me. There were times this year in prayer that I asked God if Jack would turn 7, and some days just didn't know if he would see that day. I do believe that God has blessed us all immensely with days filled with splendor and precious moments, I am just so glad that the future shines bright. From our dreamy day in our home to yours, Halleluiah Praise Jehovah for His name alone is high.
I posted some pictures below of today!

Birthday Chemo




Above are pictures of Jack and Sophie, this morning before school on their 7th Birthday. The group picture is of all the chemo kids and then Jack at chemo.